Jiangxi Copper, China's largest copper producer, has thrown its name into the ring as the latest potential Chinese buyer of Glencore Xstrata's Peruvian mining business.
Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported that the Chinese copper producer is interested in buying Switzerland-based Glencore Xstrata's $5bn (£3.2bn, €3.7bn) Las Bambas copper mine unit in Peru.
The sources added that Jiangxi is likely to form a consortium with Chinalco Mining Corp International or MMG, with a possibility that all three will be involved. No other copper miners across the globe are thought to be interested in the bid.
Jiangxi already has part of its business in Peru. The firm holds 40% of the northern Peru copper mining project, which is likely to start production between 2014 and 2016.
The first round of bidding for the Las Bambas mine has been scheduled in mid-September by Glencore. The Las Bambas unit is expected to produce about 400,000 tons of copper per year, beginning from 2015 and continuing for at least five years.
Glencore, which completed its acquisition of miner Xstrata in May, booked a multibillion pound loss on the value of Xstrata assets in its first set of results since the two groups merged because of lower commodity prices.
China Copper Consumption
Although the broader mining industry faces a confidence crisis because of rising operating costs and falling commodity prices, China continues to be a major copper consumer in the world and a beacon for miners of the metal.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce said that since 2010, China's direct foreign investment ranked fifth worldwide and it is mainly comprised of mining, energy, finance and manufacturing industries.
According to the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) data, copper usage in China increased by 5.1 million metric tons between 2001 and 2011.
The consumption rate is expected to increase by 9.7 million metric tons, accounting for 84% of global copper demand growth between 2011 and 2014, said the USITC report.
Meanwhile, the increasing price of copper in the global commodity market has encouraged Chinese copper-processing units to expand their businesses and export more products.
"In recent years, we have witnessed that Chinese companies have become increasingly active overseas, further mergers and acquisitions, as well as the emergence of more and more high-quality projects," said a report by Northern Interior Mining Group, published in July.